Humble jumble still draws biggest crowd for Selsey charity

Some of the team coming in at 8am on the jumble days to sort and price goods before the sale
Some of the team coming in at 8am on the jumble days to sort and price goods before the sale

Monthly jumble sales give Selsey Cancer Relief Fund a much-needed boost as it works to support people in the area.

The charity has been raising money for more than 35 years and it is still the humble jumble sale that proves the most popular with supporters.

"The old favourite jumble sales are still the best turnout"

"The old favourite jumble sales are still the best turnout"

Chairman Penny Hesp said: “The August sale made £230 and we are increasing every month due to the good-quality clothes, shoes, handbags, bric-a-brac and unwanted gifts and jewellery.

“We welcome any new members to join us at £2 per year and, of course, any goods, collected every month.”

Penny discovered some of the history of the group while out collecting jumble for the charity.

“I was delighted and surprised to meet an original member, Beryl Fraser, just about to celebrate her 96th birthday,” she explained.

“When invited back for tea and biscuits, Beryl had written from memory two sides of A4 on where, how and why this charity was formed.”

With access to the original minute book from the 1980s, Penny has put together a short piece to explain the touching and emotional beginning to the charity.

It was originally named Selsey League of Friends to the Leonard Spencer Fund for Cancer Relief.

Founder member Patricia Hammond lost a friend, 20-year-old Royal Marine Leonard Spencer, who had died from cancer.

“At that time, there was little money to spare in the NHS for all the equipment needed for relief so she decided to gather a few friends around and form this charity, raising funds to support the local hospitals in providing benefit for cancer sufferers,” said Penny.

Trustee David Fraser designed praying hands for the logo, as it was felt to be appropriate.

Within a month, a committee was formed and suggestions for fundraising began, one of the first being a table top sale in the Mill Lane Market.

Penny added: “This soon became popular and Selsey residents were very generous in giving either goods or money to support this wonderful idea.

“Following on were garden parties with hand-crafted gifts, homemade cakes, tombola, nearly-new clothes, street collections, cheese and wine evenings, jumble sales, permit street collections, even something called Hot Rod Day - no idea what that was but it still raised money for the fund.

“Non-stop throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s and now in the 21st century, the members continued to generously give their time and garage or home space for the jumble, nearly new clothes, bric-a-brac, unwanted gifts, etc., especially Pat and John Bryden, early members who still give so many hours to run the charity and keep it all together.”

The charity has donated more than £150,000, on request, to local hospitals and Selsey Medical Centre.

The latest donation was £10,000 to the Fernhurst Cancer Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, to refurbish and equip two treatment rooms.

Penny said: “Still more is needed to fund future requests. So many ways were tried, all very successful, and would you believe it the old favourite jumble sales are still the best turnout.”

She thanked Selsey Methodist Church for allowing use of its hall and all those who help promote the sales through posters and advertisements, including the Chichester Observer.

“Without a hardworking team back in the 1980s and until now, none of this would be possible, so all credit and a big ‘thank you’ to past and present trustees, committee members and helpers.”

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